I have chosen Venice, California, as the scene, the laboratory as it were, because I live here and have seen it grow up around me. Newer than the North Beach, San Francisco, scene or the Greenwich Village scene, it has afforded me an opportunity to watch the formation of a community of disaffiliates from its inception. Seeing it take form I had a feeling of "this is where I came in," that I had seen it all happening before. But studying it closely, from the inside, and with a sympathy born of a kindred experience, I have come to the conclusion that this is not just another alienation. It is a deep-going change, a revolution under the ribs. These people are picking up where we—left off?—no, where we began. Began and lived it and wrote about it and waited for the world to catch up with us. I am telling their story here because it is our story, too. My story.
The Venice Pier Opera House, where Kinney dreamed of Nellie Melbas warbling arias and Italian tenors singing Neapolitan boat songs, went into history instead as the ballroom where Kid Ory first brought New Orleans jazz to the West Coast.
The luxury hotels along the beach front promenade, too costly to tear down at present-day wrecking prices and not profitable enough to warrant proper upkeep and repair, stand like old derelicts, their plush and finery faded and patched.
To this area of Los Angeles, as to similar areas of other large cities, have come the rebellious, the nonconformist, the bohemian, the deviant among the youth.
The "nineteenth-century Man of Vision" that Lipton describes is Abbot Kinney (1850-1920), developer of the 1905 "Venice of America" plan, which eventually grew into the present Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. The recording on Tape 434 of Lipton's audio collection begins in the middle of a discussion between Lawrence Lipton and Nellie Loeb regarding Abbot Kinney and his family. Lipton and Loeb discuss Kinney's ownership of the Los Angeles Saturday Post; his political views; the competing visions for Venice as a summer resort and a cultural center for the arts; Kinney's children, who took over some of the Venice enterprises following his death; a love for Italian opera that Kinney fostered in his children; and the roots of jazz music in Venice. During the conversation on Venice, Nellie Loeb refers to her notes from a recent talk, written piece, or interview involving Abbot Kinney's daughter. Since Abbot Kinney only had one daughter who survived into adulthood, Helen Kinney, much of the biographical details discussed on this tape probably stem from Helen's accounts.